American Studies Engages the Rural

Maarten Zwiers, Maarten Arnoldus

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


    The U.S. cultural imaginary is rife with representations, contemplations, and assertions surrounding the rural. The rural served as backdrop for TV series such as Breaking Bad, Justified, and Ozark in order to tell stories of lawlessness and frontier justice. At the same time, a cultural struggle is afoot in the hills of Appalachia and other rural parts of the country; a struggle about who lives there, what their interests are, and how they are (and have been) politically mobilized before and after the momentous 2016 elections. The war over the cultural and political identity of the U.S. countryside seems to be fought in memoirs. J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, Elizabeth Catte’s What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia, and outsider and Londoner Richard Grant’s Dispatches from Pluto are all offering their personalized understanding of what life in fly-over country really entails. How does American Studies factor into these discussions about the countryside? This panel serves as a way to take stock of contemporary efforts within the field of American Studies to help elucidate questions surrounding the rural. Conscious efforts to reintegrate the rural in the scholastic enterprise of American Studies remain necessary. At the same time we should also try to bridge the gap between academic research and lived experience, and explore the interaction between these two dimensions to reshape American rural understanding.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 14-Dec-2018
    EventThe Future of American Studies in the Netherlands - University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Duration: 14-Dec-201814-Dec-2018


    ConferenceThe Future of American Studies in the Netherlands

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